The Publishers Association (PA) has sent a rallying cry to the UK’s European members of parliament urging them that copyright is not in need of reform.
The PA has developed a paper called Publishing and the Digital Single Market, which it is sending to all UK MEP’s this week, underlining the value of publishing and arguing that the digital single market is already a reality and therefore copyright is not in need of reform.
The paper is in response to a Pirate Party MEP who drafted is a report calling for wide-ranging reform to copyright, which was recently presented to the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee. The Reda Report – written by Julia Reda, an MEP for the German Pirate Party – argues that EU Copyright rules are maladapted to the increase in cross-border cultural exchange on the web.
However, the PA is strongly critical of the report and is concerned that its recommendations have been made “on the back of no evidence or apparent understanding of how creators, businesses and consumers interact.”
To counteract the draft proposal at a time MEP’s are giving it consideration, Richard Mollet, c.e.o of the PA, has written an 18-point paper to the UK’s European politicians calling on them to acknowledge that publishing is one of the “biggest success stories of the digital age”, acknowledging its role in underpinning academic research excellence and educational attainment and its place at “the heart of Europe’s cultural tradition.”
He asks them to ensure any proposals for legislative reform are evidence-based and come with a clear understanding of the current state of the market, given the activity, jobs and investments of the publishing sector which directly depend on copyright. Finally, he calls on them to appreciate how reforms to copyright could impact on the long term interests of consumers and cultural diversity across the EU.
“Publishing is the most prominent cultural industry in Europe and in the world,” the paper says. “It delivers clear benefits for the economies and societies of the European Union and we believe that what is good for publishing is, by extension, a benefit to the EU." It adds that in monetary terms, revenues from book exports to the rest of the world (i.e. non-EU) were worth €900m in 2013 alone. Publishing is a central part of a European creative industries sector which collectively employs more than 7m people and contributes 4.5% of EU GDP annually.
"The Digital Single Market is already a reality for publishing", the PA argues. “In the main, publishers license rights from authors on a pan-European basis, indeed increasingly often on a global basis. For the purposes of a single language translation the EU is treated as a single territory.”
The PA concludes by saying copyright enforcement was the “one area” which required improvement however. “Not all Member States are as active in tackling infringement of copyright as others; and whilst in some, such as the UK and France, there are strong relationships between rightsholders and government on developing a framework for promoting and protecting IP, this is not the case across the 28 Members,” it said.